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Seminary seeks help leading reformation in Latin America

Founder of Gospel Through Colombia invites missionary-minded Christians to pray, give, go

by Peter Benyola

Dr. Noé S. Acosta, founder of Gospel Through Colombia, invites Christians to pray, give and go, partnering with prominent Reformed teachers to promulgate the Doctrines of Grace throughout an entire continent.

Dr. Noé S. Acosta, Founder and Executive Director of Gospel Through Colombia

Dr. Noé S. Acosta, Founder and Executive Director of
Gospel Through Colombia

Those who are led to give monetarily will enjoy a 2015 tax deduction on their gift if it is received and processed by Dec. 31.

Following the Lord’s blessing of 16 years of graduating classes so far, students from Colombia, Venezuela, Peru, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Panama, Ecuador and Chile are beginning classes in January. Some students at the seminary who completed their degree program in 2015 sent a video message of gratitude to their professors and to supporters of GTC for providing their education and training.

I sat down with Noé for a few minutes one day after our weekly Bible study to learn more about the ministry and his interesting conversion story. He and his wife, Mimi, attend St. Andrew’s Chapel, a Reformed Congregation in Sanford, Florida.

BENYOLA: How did Gospel Through Colombia begin, as well as the seminary [Universidad Seminario Reformado Latinoamericano] in South America?

ACOSTA: When I completed studies for the Master of Divinity I entered the doctoral program and wrote my dissertation on a comparative study of the official doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church and the Holy Bible. The Roman Church responded to my dissertation with a book denouncing my position and I was invited for a debate in Bogotá with Roman Catholic priests and bishops. The Roman Catholic representatives did not show up, so it was me – and the audience – and I presented the plan of salvation in the Bible in contrast with the plan of salvation in Roman Catholicism. The majority of the large audience in the room became convinced that the Bible was right. We recommended that they find Christian churches. After a short time, we visited those Christian churches in Colombia and discovered that the pastors were not properly trained. They were not teaching the gospel. They were preaching the prosperity and other things that have nothing to do with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Students at Universidad Seminario Reformado Latinoamericano.

Students at Universidad Seminario Reformado Latinoamericano.

We returned to Philadelphia very discouraged. Dr. James Montgomery Boice, from Tenth Presbyterian Church, and Pastor Richard Tyson, from Calvary Presbyterian Church, decided that it was important to go back to train and teach pastors in Colombia, and the ministry of Gospel Through Colombia was born.

Eighteen years ago, we opened a seminary with 10 students. We provided education for three years and discovered that it was too expensive for only 10 students. So we decided to begin seminary education through modules using different teaching organizations, theological conferences and informal meetings, until we concluded that, in order to maintain faithfulness to the Doctrines of Grace and high academic standards, we needed to start our own training centers. That is how the Reformed seminary, Universidad Seminario Reformado Latinoamericano [USRL], began in Medellín, Colombia.

The idea was to provide free theological education to interested pastors. The vision is to flood Latin America with well-trained native Reformed pastors. Many professors from the best theological seminaries in the United States have donated their time to teach at USRL. We have already graduated many pastors. In order to facilitate these programs, we recently purchased two buildings in downtown Medellín. They were put to use immediately, and are being used to capacity, thanks be to God!

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